My GoPro 5 Wide Motorsports Camera just showed up on the doorstep last night, just enough time for me to put in some batteries, a 4GB SD card, and do a quick run through of the settings before stuffing it into my Ski Pack. I had done a little bit of research before deciding to order this specific POV camera. I looked at a VIO POV1, but there was no way I was gonna drop 700 dollars on a camera I’ve never gotten to try out or even seen in person. After doing a little more research I came across the GoPro camera. I checked dozens upon dozens of videos on Vimeo people made using the GoPro, and was pretty satisfied with the video quality this little thing produces. For a sub 200 dollar camera there isn’t much difference between the VIO.
So sit back and enjoy this little review of the GoPro 5 Wide and a couple of videos made with the camera.
I opened the box and found my camera neatly tucked inside some bubble wrap. I was expecting a much larger product box, but pictures can be deceiving. I proceeded to remove the GoPro from its packaging.
This thing is much smaller then I expected. The case is pretty hefty and supposedly watertight to 100 feet. The motorsport version also comes with a bunch of little attachment thingies, and a giant suction cup armature. I wish they had made the product box a little easier to get into, I am the kind of person that likes to save boxes, for when I put things on ebay. Unfortunately the box was pretty much destroyed after I got done with it, they packaged it up very strangely, it sure did look pretty though.
Lets see how it performs.
Here is a pic I took with the GoPro.
As a digital camera… I was not all that impressed, It definitely won’t replace my Nikon Coolpix 2500, on account of the wide angle lens making pictures look stretched and out of wack. It does have a timelapse function, where it can take 3 consecutive pictures, or you can set it to take pictures in 2 or 5 second intervals. That could be neat for timelapse intros, but than again that is not its main purpose in life, it was built to take action footage.
Here is a video I took skiing at Bromley mountain. Keep in mind that it was mostly cloudy and the top half of the mountain was pretty dense with fog, I’d guess that visibility was less than 50 yards. The only editing I did was to chop me turning on and off the camera, and I encoded them to be bandwidth friendly.
Here is a video I took on a nice sunny day, I started out on the roof of a parking garage and drove through the garage so you get some nice Light vs. Dark video shots.
So far I am unimpressed with the audio quality on the camera, in the parking garage video I was talking and playing the radio all at different volumes. I had the camera audio set to Hi and it was suction cupped to the inside of the windshield less than a foot from my face. Even on Hi audio the camera takes very poor quality audio, it seems to only capture bass and vibration noise. I did some testing with the camera in the Lo setting and it was too quiet, It barely captured any audio at all.
The GoPro 5 uses 2 AAA batteries and the manual suggests using Lithium Ion for their weather durability. I am still searching for some AAA Lithium Ion Rechargeables but am not having any luck, so for now my 600Mah Nickel Metal Hydride Rechargeables will have to do. I did try using some regular Alkaline AAA batteries, but they were dead after about 20 minutes in the camera.
As you can see this camera really needs all the sunlight it can get, today’s low light conditions really brought the video quality down a few notches. I had this camera mounted to my helmet via a sticky pad and it was rock solid on there. I messed with the Hi/Lo audio settings a bit throughout the day and come to the conclusion that the Hi setting is pretty much going to be my default setting. For what you get for a sub 200 dollar video camera is pretty outstanding. I don’t plan on taking pictures with it, only video, and the audio quality isn’t really too much of a concern to me, I’ll probably just dub some music over it anyway. I’m happy with it so far.
PS – If you look hard enough, you can find this camera on ebay for 150 dollars shipped.
I know that you checked out the VIO but was wondering if you had checked out any others. I’ve been looking at the VholdR contour hd, wondering if you had looked into it. From the sample video that I have seen it seems a lot better than a lot of other cameras.
The Vholdr looks like it takes good video, but I think the GoPro has much better video stabilization. Hopefully soon I will take the GoPro out on my mountain bike and take a few “nice sunny day in the woods videos”. The GoPro really seems to prefer a lot of sunlight.
It looks like you don’t get the odd jittering waves that a lot of other small cams have if they’re vibrated or moved a lot — any problems so far?
I have not noticed a jittering wave problem with the GoPro, I just wish the audio was a bit better. What I want to do is try and muffle it a bit because I think the mic is picking up vibrations from the plastic housing. Maybe I can stick a piece of foam inside the casing…
I think the audio is doomed to be muffled, simply because the mike is inside the case. I’ve used a couple of other, older helmet cams and in a high-vibration environment they get a peculiar “wavy” effect resulting from the scanning protocol of the imaging chip.
As far as the lithium batteries go, the website says:
“Battery life is improved to 3 hours of video record time when using Lithium batteries and 2 hours when using NiMH rechargeable batteries.”
So I think they’re referring to the single-use lithium batteries that you can get pretty much anywhere (though they’re pricey). My experience with these is that they don’t quit in extremely cold weather, but the voltage discharge curve (how much the voltage falls as the battery is worn out) is nearly flat…when the battery-low indicator starts showing anything other than “full”, they’re exhausted.
NiMH rechargeables are available nearly anywhere too, and can be gotten with very high capacity, though I haven’t used them for cold weather work much.
Thanks for the help!